By Adekola Afolabi
Ondo State Government yesterday flagged off the distribution of palliatives to vulnerable households in the state.
The Chairman, state palliative committee, Mr Wale Akinterinwa at the inauguration of local government palliatives committee last week said about 9,600 bags of rice were received from the Federal Government with addition from the state government to reach out to the vulnerable.
Akinterinwa who said the distribution will be done in phases to accommodate others who would not have benefitted after the scheduled date, emphasized that the food items are meant for all ethnic groups resident in the state and the poorest of the poor.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju at the flag-off of the distribution of the palliatives at Isua, Headquarters of Akoko South East Local Government Area of the state said the government was aware of the hardship the citizens are facing, adding that the food palliative will reach the targeted beneficiaries.
The commissioner who explained that 1,200 bags of rice will be distributed to 6,000 households in the council area stressed that the initiative is meant for all residents of the state regardless of their political affiliations.
“Today, we are kicking off the distribution of palliatives to Ondo State residents and it happens that the four local government areas in Akoko are the first to be distributed to.
“There will be five people to a bag of rice and here, we have trucks coming in to take the palliatives to various towns in Akoko South East comprising Ipesi, Sosan, Ifira, Epinmi , Isua among others. We have 1,200 bags of rice for Akoko South East and we are targeting 6,000 households in the local government”.
She disclosed that the palliatives were part of consignments taken from the Federal Government and the one paid for by the state government.
Ademola-Olateju said religious groups, market women, traders association among other would benefit from the palliatives.
“We have selected the most vulnerable households but base on our experience while we were drawing the list, we have seen that we will go very far. We have Muslim community, Christian Association, Market women, traders association, tailoring association, Iyalojas among others.
“We have been very diligent in making this selection. We will learn a lot of lessons from the distribution. Whatever lessons we learnt, we are going to share it with the main committee and we hope we don’t learn bad lesson and even if we learn bad lesson, we hope to gain from it because this is the first tranche and lesson learnt will be improved upon.
“We will repeat the successes recorded and if there is any bad lesson, we will mitigate it other time, so we will not make the same mistake again”.
While saying that other local governments in the state will soon get their share of the palliatives, she assured that beside rice, other local food items would be procured and distributed to the poor people in the state, using the existing data in the communities in the state.
“For local governments like Idanre, Odigbo, Okitipupa among others coming behind us, we will tell them our experiences in the field today”.
Also, Mr Suleiman Muritala Babatunde, Ondo State House of Assembly member representing Akoko South East, expressed gratitude for the palliatives.
As a representative of the people, I am glad that this is happening in my local government. I would like to thank the Federal Government in conjunction with the state government for providing these palliatives.
“I also thank the state for prompt action and delivery of the palliatives.
We carried along traditional worshipers, traditional rulers, Christian and Muslim groups, artisans and most of the segments that make up our community in Isua.
“These are the people who produced the list with us that we will distribute to. The process was free and fair,” he said.
Similarly, Alhaji Saliu Jamiu, Chief Imam of Akoko South East Local Government Area, thanked Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for the palliatives.
“They have given us rice in this local government which has touched almost everyone and we thank the governor because he said so, and he did so,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pastor Gideon Onibato, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Akoko South East Local Government area, appreciated God for the palliatives.
He said the masses have been praying to God for such palliatives due to the situation in the country.
“With this, we know that a new beginning is coming in our country. We appreciate the Federal Government and the State Government,” he said.
Responding on behalf of Isua community, Mr Akin Aibinuomo, the former Chairman of Akoko South East, said the community was given 160 bags of 50kg rice as palliatives.
According to him, the people are happy because the oil subsidy removal has made it a little difficult for the people, but with this gesture, it shows that the government has feelings for the people.